8 Sixth St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410337.781898 -122.410050
Neighborhoods: SoMa (South of Market), Central East, SoMa
An Insult to the Asian Culture – Tu Lan is nothing more than dog entrails marinating in sewage water. I have eaten at this restaurant three times in the past ten years because I work a block away from it. Upon each dining, I have walked out hating myself for being so desperately hungry as to stoop so low as to eat at Tu Lan. The rice dishes I have ordered came marinating in two inches of cooking oil. I went with a friend once, who ordered a noodle soup, and the noodles were all stuck together, meaning that the noodles weren't properly cooked. We were looking around us and we noticed that the diners were all filthy laborers and folks who most likely grew up eating greasy trailer park food. Not a single person was Asian. That ought to be a sign of the kind of food Tu Lan truly has. As for Julia Child's review, the woman specialized in French cuisine. What would she had known? She wasn't even Asian.
Nothing has Changed – today is Friday. temperatures were due to reach 78 and passed 85. tommorow in the 90s. I happened to get off the wrong stop and walked to a store that was closed. I walked further to Tu Lan where I had not been for at least one year. Less people than I am used to seeing there but time of day is to be considered. The menu has not changed and still has Julia Child on the cover. I always ordered their signature dish but forgot what it was today. it helped to read caption which reminded me where I picked the dish. Food was as always but plate has shrunk in size. Prices are same as before which is great and makes it easier to pick Tu Lan to return. Beer is still very cheap which is a huge reason to come back for a chow. I recommend it but make sure you know where it is and so on.
Put on your kevlar and go get some noodles! – OK, so this place is pretty sticky. Kinda gross and greasy and in a neighborhood that could be used for a scene in a movie where young kids are coppin' for heroin and they wouldn't need to hire ANY extras. If you can get past all that, you've made it to the front door. Inside you will merely find LESS crackheads. The food, albeit not the most authentic of Vietnamese around San Fran is pretty flippin good for the price! Their imperial rolls are better than any fried viet. style spring roll in the city. PERIOD. do NOT order the pho... there are plenty of other sketchy holes in the tenderloin which SPECIALIZE in that fabulous soup... such as pho hoa on ellis and taylor (or jones?) it's creepy too, but that's another review... don't come to tu lan with any expectations. least of all, keeping your clothes from smelling weird or touching sticky greasiness. However, you will leave with a full belly and an almost-full wallet! Enjoy! and don't talk to strangers... seriously.
Fast,Greasy, Chinese style vietnamese food... – Good service for a high volume place. My girl is vietnamese so i've had lots of vietnamese food . This place is kind of chinese/vietnamese. A lot more greasy. You get a lot of food for the money though and it's not that bad but it's not quite "authentic " vietnamese. Worth checking out once for the novelty of it but i don't think I'll ever go back.
cheap, hot, spicy, greasy, fast vietnamese food – I can't believe Tu Lan is on Citysearch...how random. A few years ago I used to work in this area and several people kept talking about the "great Vietnamese" around the corner. I ended up going a few times with them and liked the food. It's basically cheap, hot, vietnamese food fast food style. I always ordered this curry that I crave to this day - very spicy and heavy, with slices of whole jalapeno in it. Mmmmmm. I wouldn't say it's "great" Vietnamese, though - it's a greasy take on Vietnamese and any foodie will immediately note its limitations. And the other reviewers have it right when they warn you against the neighborhood. 6th and Mission/Market is a sketchfest - many people walking around are visibly high or fiending. I always ordered my food to go to so I could enjoy the food at my leisure and not in the loud restaurant. This is one instance when I'd say it's okay to eat at your desk. :)
Worth it! – I have been here many times the food has always been wonderful. The dishes are a unique blend of flavors. One of my favorite dishes is the tomato beef. If you are not adventurous, unimaginative or just maybe just stupid and shallow, you might have a hard time with the location and the atmosphere. But if are smart enough to overcome those things, you will enjoy a great meal.
Where do I even begin....maybe it's the nice brisk walk past the crackheads and "street vendors." to get there...or maybe it makes sense to start about 20 minutes earlier when you convince a co-worker to be your wingman (the buddy system in full effect when cruising to 6th and Mission). Once you actually get past the narrow door frame, you find yourself immediatly on top of about a dozen other patrons and you get your first glimps of the local famed executive chef. He can be easily identified by having a towel rolled and afixed to his neck by a rubberband to ensure that his sweat doesn't contaminate your meal. Ok, now on to the service...(crickets)...Ok, now on to the menu. Thankfully they are laminated, which serve a dual purpose. 1) You can physically prop it open without having to have any actual skin-to-menu contact 2) The plastic used to cover the menus also helps offset the change of any grease fires. I'd dedicate the remainder of the review to the food, but it's something you really ought to experience yourself. In all seriousness, the food is fantastic. Fresh, authentic Vietnamese food, particlularly their spring rolls (fried hard!). Others have compared Tu Lan to eating a good meal in a bathroom stall, whereas I think a more appropriate depiction is: Eating at Tu Lan, is like drinking champaign out of a hippies birkenstock. 4 of 5 stars...(minus 1, cause both of my wingmen got sick the next morning)
This tiny Vietnamese diner epitomizes the term "hidden find." – In Short
People come from all over San Francisco to this tiny Vietnamese storefront. Seating is limited to eight small tables and a Formica counter that runs along the open kitchen. Menu selections include imperial rolls on a bed of rice noodles, and lemon beef or chicken salad. Other favorites include the fried fish in ginger sauce, pork kebabs and any of the noodle soups.
Why has the department of health not shut this place down yet? – It's kind of like what being in a smoker's lung must be like - dirty, cramped, and smelly. If you don't mind grease on your seat, the floor, and everywhere else, or if eating out of dumpsters is your cup of tea, then this is the place for you. It's been a year or so since I was here, and usually I only remember eating at a restaurant if it's really good or really bad... a friend just asked if I wanted to go here and I quickly and easily remembered how horrible my experience had been, from waiting ten minutes in the sketchy neighborhood for a seat, to the gruff service, lack of cleanliness, and poor quality ingredients leading to abysmal tasting food. There is so much better Vietnamese food in this city, that we should not have to subject ourselves to such low-rent establishments as Tu Lan. Go up to Saigon Sandwich shop at Turk & Eddy for an incalculably better meal.
Greasy - Inexpensive - Fast - Furious - Vietnamese - In Funky Neighborhood – I'm surprised I'm coming back to this greasy, smoky and stinky, dirty, disgusting place with sticky tables and chairs, but the food is decent, not really authentic though, if spicy hot it is HOT, don't try finding out from menu what to expect, inexpensive, big portions; oh yeah and the neighborhood: no looking left or right, folks, especially if you have to wait in line outside the restaurant.
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